I am looking to leave a Federation and Empire game set up and running on a server. This is going to be a long term game (months). This will enable players to do updates when convenient for them, while still being able to get together for movement and combat phases.
Is there a way to password a game vs. setting a password to determine the faction played in a game?
Or is this better handled by using a private server? If so, where are the instructions for setting up one of those?
Sorry, but VASSAL doesn’t really support this use. You really need to switch to a Play-By-EMail (PBEM) model if you want to allow players to make moves when anyone is not connected to the server. You can switch back-and-forth between PBEM and playing live on the server–when you are done playing “live”, have everyone save the game locally. They can then load the game locally and start logging to make moves offline. Then, when you’re ready to go back to playing live, one player has to load and run all of those log files, then start the game on the server. Everyone else will then synchronize to that player (optionally, they could run the log files themselves, as well, if they want to be able to see the other players updates one step at a time).
To give some background details, there is no real server when playing an online game–the VASSAL “server” purely connects individual players to each other, it doesn’t hold a copy of the game in progress. Instead, when any player makes a move that effects the state of the game (even if it’s just moving a piece a single pixel), that command gets sent to the server and then echoed to every other player in the game. If you try to leave the game running on the “server” while players are disconnected, only the players that are still connected at the time the moves are made will actually receive any moves that are made.